Zach helps people express themselves in mind-blowing ways.
Zach is co-founder of OpenFrameworks, a toolkit that makes creative computer coding easier. He is also an assistant professor at Parsons The New School for Design and on the faculty in the Interaction Design department at The School of Visual Arts. Zach has held a number of residencies at arts collectives worldwide. Recently, he helped create visuals for the exterior of the new Ars Electronica Center and develop the EyeWriter, which won Interactive Design of the Year from the London Design Museum as well as the FutureEverything prize and the Golden Nica in Interactive Art. In 2010, Zach was named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business.
More About Zach
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Zach shares his creative process.
For me, an important part of the creative process is the notion of inhale / exhale. When we breath, it’s balanced — input / output, send / receive. I like to have periods of time that are just about inhaling, and trying to go to as many museums, concerts, talks, workshops, events as possible to get inspired. Then it’s about exhaling, and locking myself in a room and working. It’s very important to have the right balance. At the moment, I am really inspired by two UK-based artists, Chris O’Shea and Memo. I also love the work on Vimeo, it usually has some of the best creative video/animation out there, and like these blogs – butdoesitfloat.com, vvork.com, and ffffound.com – as great visual references and for getting ideas.
- Allowing Artists to Draw with Their Eyes
Art can become a type of social change through software coding and other technologies. Legendary LA graffiti artist Tempt1, who was paralyzed by a degenerative disease, inspired the project. He worked with Zach and a team of collaborators to build a breathtaking eye-tracking system. They used cameras to track eye movements, which was relayed to software to be analyzed. This data was then translated into drawings by another piece of software. They also needed an understanding of laser technologies to project this content onto urban spaces.
- Interactions Five Stories Tall
Creating interactive art requires a combination of programming and engineering skills. For the Night Lights project, Zach and a team of collaborators turned the Auckland Ferry Building into a massive public performance space. They wrote custom software that tracked body movements, from hand waving to full-body dancing, and then expressed these movements as colorful shapes and patterns. They also used geometry to calculate the distance between the lighted stages and the buildings so that these patterns became giant-sized projections.
Design Team: YesYesNo, Hellicar & Lewis, Inside Out Productions, Simon Velvin @ The Church, The Electric Canvas
Exploring 3D Drawing Online
Zach is inspired to make online tools that are fun to use and inspire others. One of his newest ways for creating interactive art is a 3D drawing tool called Rhonda. Download Rhonda and then check out this video of Zach explaining the basic keyboard and mouse operations of the tool.Download Rhonda